Early Childhood Teachers

Our Early Childhood Teachers engage our youngest students in a play-based approach to learning and exploration, which incorporates the children’s interests as well as their individual needs when planning short and long term activities. Our teachers appreciate the whole child and promote an open dialogue with students so they can identify their own passions and contribute their own ideas.




  • Nicole Erwin

    Preschool Lead Teacher
    B.A. Applied Music (Voice), Transylvania University 2016
    M.A. Education & Human Development (ECE), CU Denver

    This will be Nicole’s first year at Rick’s and fifth year as an early childhood teacher. Nicole has a Master’s in Education & Human Development specializing in Early Childhood Education from CU Denver, earned through the Reggio Teacher Education program at Boulder Journey School. Her focus leans toward Reggio practice in Colorado, diversity and inclusion work, child advocacy, and emergent curriculum. She is so excited to join the Rick’s community! In her free time, Nicole enjoys spending time outdoors skiing, backpacking, hiking and spending time with her husband, friends, family, and pup, Willow. She loves cooking, traveling, reading, and growing her Spanish language skills.

  • Sarah Howell

    B.A. Psychology, University of Denver 2021

    Sarah has been working at Ricks since 2017, originally starting as a student worker and working her way to being a preschool teacher. She has worked in Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten and Preschool classes in her time at Ricks. She attended the University of Denver and graduated in August of 2021 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Her studies mainly focused on early childhood psychology/development and cognitive neuroscience. She is looking forward to being back in the 3-year-old classroom and supporting children (and parents) with the transition into their first school setting. She has been enjoying her summer with her newly expanded family. Sarah, Dario, and Gus (their French Bulldog) welcomed baby Aleah in April.


  • Mary Franklin

    B.A. in American Studies and Elementary Education, Muhlenberg College 2007
    M.L.S. in Library Science, University of Maryland 2009

    Mary recently relocated to Colorado from her hometown of Washington, DC.  She has worked in teaching and administrative roles in preschools in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington state in both play-based and forest school settings before joining the Ricks team.  Mary holds degrees in education and library science and incorporates her interest in diverse children's literature, social-emotional learning, and nature into the classroom.  She is excited to be a part of the Ricks community at DU.

  • Elizabeth Rouse

    B.A. Political Science, Public Policy, and Spanish, University of Denver 2022 

    Elizabeth was born and raised in the nearby city of Littleton. As a Colorado native, she  was very appreciative of the opportunity to pursue her undergraduate degree at DU, and in March of 2022, she earned her Bachelor of Arts. During all four years of her undergraduate studies, Elizabeth worked at Ricks as a student worker. Throughout this time, she was able to gain experience and a passion for teaching through spending time in the Pre-school and Pre-K classrooms. Elizabeth is absolutely thrilled to begin her fifth year at Ricks in her new position as a Junior Lead Teacher! 

  • Shavon Glasper


    Shavon is a Colorado native, who has been been married for 16 years. She has an amazing daughter Lyric who is 14 years old. Shavon loves music, children and inspiring others to be their best in all they do. She has been in the education field for 16 years and truly loves what she does. Children inspire Shavon every day to look at life as a playground of learning. In her own words, "I have been working with gifted and talented students for the last 8 years and each year the students teach me something new. I am excited to step into Ricks and be inspired by so many beautiful minds."

  • Morgan Friedman

    M.A. Education and Human Learning, University of Denver 2017, with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education
    B.S. Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Missouri, 2016

    This is Morgan's seventh year teaching in an early childhood setting and she is heavily inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education and learning. She is passionate about play based learning, supporting the whole child, inquiry based emergent learning, and restorative practices. She moved to Colorado seven years ago to complete the Boulder Journey School program and earned her MA in Education and Human Learning. She grew up in Missouri and she spends a lot of time traveling there to visit with family and friends. She lives here in Denver with her husband, Kyle, and their golden retriever, Sadie. In her free time, Morgan loves to ski, camp, hike, backpack, travel, and read. 



  • Lauren Hayward

    B.S. Strategic Communications, University of Colorado Boulder
    M.A. Learning, Developmental, & Family Sciences (ECE), University of Colorado Denver


    Lauren is so excited to join the Ricks community as an EC Teacher! She recently finished her Masters degree at CU Denver in Learning, Development, and Family Sciences and worked as a preschool teacher at the Boulder Journey School. She is passionate about advocating for the rights of young children, supporting young children to see and achieve their full potential, and social-emotional learning. Originally from Philly, Lauren moved to Boulder in 2014 and Denver in 2018. She loves spending time her Pitbull-mix Ophie, exploring the outdoors, skiing, cooking gardening, and yoga.

  • Jenny Trettel

    B.S. Spanish and Psychology, University of Denver 2015
    M.S. Natural Resource Management, with a certificate in Environmental Policy,and a certificate in GIS in the Environment, University of Denver


    Jenny grew up in Minnesota with her four brothers and moved out to Colorado to pursue her degrees. She has been working with children in a variety of roles for several years, with a focus on early childhood education. She taught at the Fisher Early Learning Center on campus for four years before joining the Ricks community. Jenny is passionate about the natural environment, embracing the use of all senses to enhance the learning experience, sparking both curiosity about and appreciation for nature.


Student Support

For students in need of accommodation, discover how our Student Support Team provides tailored strategies in multiple disciplines to aid in the success of our students. 

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